- 08 Jan 21
The brilliant Donegal duo Blackbird & Crow serenaded us from the VIP section of Dublin's Button Factory. It proved to be a spell-binding performance...
From Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, Blackbird & Crow’s music has been described as Celtic folk blues with a punk attitude, and as psychedelic folk blues. Whichever way you attempt to categorise Blackbird & Crow, it's clear that the duo won't be pigeonholed.
Comprising Maighread Ní Ghrásta (vocals) and Stephen Doohan (guitar, bouzouki and stomp), Blackbird & Crow were originally discovered by Moya Brennan, of Clannad legend. They released their widely-praised debut album Shock Shatter Convince in 2017. They have since played numerous major festivals, including the Stendahl Festival, the Longitude Festival and Electric Picnic in Ireland. The band subsequently signed to the German label, MIG Music.
2020 saw the release of their acclaimed second album, Ailm, with Tommy McLoughlin in the producer’s chair. Garnering major overseas attention, Ailm confirmed that they are among Ireland’s most visceral and compelling artists.
Their performance from the VIP section of The Button Factory was all this and more. Opening with 'The Planter and The Runaway', a Celtic blues track from Ailm with an incendiary build, the band showcased their exceptional gothic story-telling.
They also performed 'Margaret The Martyr', which, according to Maighread is "the story of my Mother, my Auntie, my Granny". When asked to explain the song, Stephen joked, "it's in D Minor." Moving into a stunning rendition of 'The Ugly Duckling', from their debut album Shock Shatter Convince – it was described by Maighread as the most vulnerable song she's ever written.
This honest, passionate performance was powerfully soulful. Blackbird & Crow proved their extraordinary ability to tug at the heartstrings while delivering a musically complex and beautiful performance.
Next up in this special series: Vernon Jane, Monday 11 January.
Watch the full Blackbird & Crow performance below.